Project Christmas Tree

When Christmas rolls around I love to give of myself. Homemade gifts really show you took the time to put thought and effort into that one single person. I'm a baker and give out the sweet treats as my gifts. Cakes, cookies, fudge, brittle and rum balls depending on the person. I love decorating them. I have a blast and it seems I get more and more into it every year.

For the kids, they're gifts are more crafts. Last year we made small things out of soup cans and ribbons, I wish I had some pictures of those, they were great! They really enjoy getting to do the crafts, and really look forward to what they're going to do every year.

Anyway, my Mom loves to put out several different trees and snow villages for Christmas time. It's one of the many things she does for Christmas we all look forward to. She builds her own lawn characters and has since we were little. Actually when we were little she painted on our big living room window whatever cartoon was the biggest hit at that time and made it Christmasy. So I thought a perfect present for mom from the kids this year, would be a Christmas tree she could display. What I liked was the kids could do most all of the jobs on their own. I did use the glue gun a couple of times when it was tricky for them. Each one had they're own idea of what the tree should have and look like. We tried to get everyone's in.

Everything we used was already here, reused and recycled. Old Christmas tinsel that really wasn't long enough for our tree, ribbon from presents past, cardboard that was laying around and no longer useful as a fort, glue, glitter and paint. A cardboard christmas tree!! Very easy, just time consuming. But each child could take part, which was very important.

Cardboard was the main component. It was painted and cut into decorations, ornaments and the star....and the tree!

I printed out a picture of the kids and glued it onto cardboard and added glitter.

Hand painted wooden ornaments.

The tree just slipped in together.

The finished product. We decorated some plain ol' plastic balls with glitter, wrapped up some boxes, added lights and tinsel.

Thats some old cob web from Halloween we never got a chance to put up by the way. Came in handy I think!

The hardest thing with these gifts is you want them to come out sooo perfect, because you know they're going to be gifts..... But you have to just let the kids do it and be pleased with their abilites. I was extremely pleased with their work. We had a few meltdowns, one kid wanted to be in charge of this or that and didn't get to. Or someone messed up and the others didn't like it. But it got finished in time, and everyone's hard work was displayed. We laughed, listened to Christmas music and just bonded as a family. And thats all that matters. It's not the destination but the journey there.

A Touching Email Please Read

I had this in my email today, I have to share this, and I hope it gets passed on........

Will you give this to my Daddy?

As a Company, Southwest Airlines is going to support 'Red Fridays.' Last week I was in Atlanta , Georgia attending a conference. While I was in the airport, returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer. I immediately turned around and witnessed one of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen. Moving through the terminal was a group of soldiers in their camos. As they began heading to their gate, everyone (well almost everyone) was abruptly to their feet with their hands waving and cheering. When I saw the soldiers, probably 30-40 of them, being applauded and cheered for, it hit me. I'm not alone. I'm not the only red-blooded American who still loves this country and supports our troops and their families. Of course I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young unsung heroes who are putting their lives on the line everyday for us so we can go to school, work and home without fear or reprisal. Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our service men and women, a young girl, not more than 6 or 7 years old, ran up to one of the male soldiers. He kneeled down and said 'hi.' The little girl then asked him if he would give something to her daddy for her. The young soldier, who didn't look any older than maybe 22 himself, said he would try and what did she want to give to her Daddy. Then suddenly the little girl grabbed the neck of this soldier, gave him the biggest hug she could muster and then kissed him on the cheek. The mother of the little girl, who said her daughter's name was Courtney, told the young soldier that her husband was a Marine and had been in Iraq for 11 months now. As the mom was explaining how much her daughter Courtney missed her father, the young soldier began to tear up. When this temporarily single mom was done explaining her situation, all of the soldiers huddled together for a brief second. Then one of the other servicemen pulled out a military-looking walkie-talkie. They started playing with the device and talking back and forth on it. After about 10-15 seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to Courtney, bent down and said this to her, 'I spoke to your daddy and he told me to give this to you.' He then hugged this little girl that he had just met and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He finished by saying 'your daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more than anything and he is coming home very soon.'The mom at this point was crying almost uncontrollably and as the young soldier stood to his feet, he saluted Courtney and her mom. I was standing no more than 6 feet away from this entire event. As the soldiers began to leave, heading towards their gate, people resumed their applause. As I stood there applauding and looked around, there were very few dry eyes, including my own. That young soldier in one last act of selflessness, turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney with a tear rolling down his cheek.

We need to remember everyday all of our soldiers and their families and thank God for them and their sacrifices. At the end of the day, it's good to be an American.RED FRIDAYS ----- Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing Red every Friday. The reason? Americans who support our troops used to be called the 'silent majority'. We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God, country and home in record breaking numbers. We are not organized, boisterous or over-bearing. We get no liberal media coverage on TV, to reflect our message or our opinions. Many American, like you, me and all our friends, simply want to recognize that the vast majority of America supports our troops. Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday -and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that.. Every red-blooded American who supports our men and women afar will wear something red. By word of mouth, press, TV -- let's make the United States on every Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football game in the bleachers.If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances, co-workers, friends, and family. It will not be long before the USA is covered in RED and it will let our troops know the once 'silent' majority is on their side more than ever; certainly more than the media lets on. The first thing a soldier says when asked 'What can we do to make things better for you?' is...We need your support and your prayers.Let's get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example; and wear something red every Friday. IF YOU AGREE -- THEN SEND THIS ON.IF YOU COULDN'T CARE LESS THEN HIT THE DELETE BUTTON --- IT IS YOUR CHOICE. I don't know if you've seen this, but I couldn't delete it. WE LIVE IN THE LAND OF THE FREE, ONLY BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE.THEIR BLOOD RUNS RED---- SO WEAR RED! --- MAY GOD HELP AMERICA TO BECOME ONE NATION, UNDER GOD.

Christmas Homeschool Style

Home schooling I've learned a lot of what I would normally do is counted towards school hours. Even before starting home school, I would make it a point to do something artsy fartsy with them for the holidays.

This year we made some really cool stuff I'd like to share and it's all so super cheap and plenty of fun!! I tried to get them all in one shot so it wouldn't take up an entire page. But some wouldn't fit.

We made an angel, snowflakes, and a Christmas tree.

A pine cone ornament.

A Christmas card.

Every tree needs candy canes, but if your kids are like mine then your tree starts out full of candy canes and quickly disappears! This is a great solution to that!

The angel (10 yr old) is a thin cardboard box from a box of pizza rolls (I save a lot of that stuff. Always something I can use it for.) We covered the cardboard with foil and glued it. While it was drying I had the Anthony cut tissue paper just as they would a snowflake. Then we glued that on top of the foil. Added some sparkly glitter and ta da an angel pretty enough to top your tree with!

The Christmas tree (8yr old): I had an old grass skirt from a Hawaiian birthday party we went to and Caitlin had it all messed up but I knew it would come in handy one day so I saved it! We measured out our length and snipped it. Then Cody gathered the top and taped it then stapled it to the paper. Cody made the star from a yellow pipe cleaner. Added glue and sprinkled glitter. To add a little something I had him color on it as well.

Snowflakes (all): Who doesn't love making snowflakes. I don't think theres ever been a year we haven't made these. They're so much fun and they're always different. We like to add glittery glue to it.

Pine cone Ornament(5yr &3 yr old): We picked up a lot of pine cones when we were on the truck with Daddy cruising America. This year we decided to decorate them for the tree. I had Wyatt and Caitlin drip some glue all over it and sprinkle glitter. Then I tied a ribbon on it . Easy for little hands.

Christmas card (all): This starts out as a regular snowflake, then you just glue it to some construction paper. Fold the paper in half and you have a card ready to decorate and personalize.

Candy cane ornaments (all): Two pipe cleaners. Line em up, twist one end together really tight. Then loosely twist the rest, then at the other end twist tightly again. Bend into a cane shape. Super fun!!

Some fun projects for any age I think. The key is to not go crazy if you can't see the floor through all paper clippings and what nots. Prep area if you particular. Me, I tell the kids go crazy and have fun.....they can clean it up afterwards! LOL. Little hands are very curious and excited and sometimes clumsy so plan their project accordingly. This is a great way to get into the holiday spirit!! Tell stories of when you were little and you did stuff with your parents, or make new memories.

Christmas Shopping Online

This is the first year I did most of my shopping online. Between Hubby and I working opposite shifts, taking off to do shopping was going to be tricky. I have ordered online before but never for Christmas. Never have I even paid attention to the deals during Cyber Monday. I started out with Black Friday. Just surfing the web to see what deals were going to happen. Then I saw "Free Shipping", "97 cent Shipping", "B1G1F", "70% off online only!". Well, yes some deals were too good to pass up. Some were last years big whoopla. Some weren't deals at all, just worded fancy. But no lines, no pushing or fighting, tripping each if your into that sort of shopping, you would not like online shopping.

I did manage to find a few things the kids had been whining about. I think I saved quite a bit doing it early and online. Honestly, with the way these kids go thru toys I didn't really want to go all out this year. Never fails...Christmas morning "OMG! I love it! Thank you thank you thank you!!! I'm gonna take care of it I promise!...New Years Days most are broken, missing parts or just plain ol' lost! And I'm not talking just the cheapy fillers. I mean those mini truck ride ons, Hummer RC, Robo Raptor, RoboSapian, Video games, Laser Tag, Transformers, Bikes, Heelies, oh how the list goes on and on! I joke how toys come here to die. But really its so beyond disappointing. I spend all this time and thought on what will make my kids head spin and.....not to mention the money, only to find it shoved under something broken or lost.

But it is Christmas and no matter how many times I threaten to buy them clothes if they don't start treating their toys correctly, I can't have them open socks. Though I should. How funny. I should stock the tree with straight socks and underwear let them open those and see what they do! Once the whine fest is over break out the real presents. Maybe they'll learn! Just a thought.

Back to my online shopping experience. I stuck to ToyRUs and WalMart. Stores I know. Stores that have stores where I live in case something went wrong, I could go there and exchange or return. I did have a small delay with WalMart, but all is here and exactly what I ordered! I may do this every year.

But, be prepared if they're big items they come in the original box! Not a brown cardboard one as I had thought. So the kids got a sneak peek unfortunately. Lucky not the kid getting the toy. I would recommend shipping to a family or friends house to avoid that. I ended up playing interception until all got here safe and unseen.

Last note: They recommend using a credit card not debit card for online shopping. It's easier to dispute charges or misuse.

Happy Shopping!

Home School Pictures Posted!

Hope everyone's Thanksgiving was great and you got to spend time with the family, relax and of course CHOW DOWN!! We had a very simple one here, a lot of us were sick still. Getting over a cold. But we managed to fry up a turkey and put some sides together.

Not too long ago I wrote how we needed to take the school out of the small room it was in and place it into a bedroom. We bunked up a couple of kids to do that.... Well we grew out of that room quickly! We have now moved it to one of our living rooms! Yup, it's like the blob! Homeschool will soon consume our total home!! Well, yes you do tend to acquire a lot of things when you home school but I think its so worth it and you know what I don't miss the old living room at all! We put a TV in our bedroom, I feel like a kid having it in there. The large sofa went to the movie room and the other sofa with tables went to the bedroom. It's like a hotel room now! *LOL* Hubbys thinking of putting a fridge in there now. Like 3 in this house isn't enough!
This is how it turned out...

Every drawer, nook and cranny filled!! I'm telling you, you acquire a lot of "stuff".

Nothing like seeing your walls on camera to make you realize how badly you need to paint!

Posters I made for the kids/with the kids for various subjects.. I printed out some really great NASA photos I'm dying to put up but how and where still stumps me.

The always goofy Cody showing off our kick ass American flag. We pledge allegiance and pray every day before school it should be♥

Kids just hanging out ☺

I love seeing homeschooling families posts pics of their set up..It always gives me ideas. I see things I gotta have or better ways to situate things.